DeWitt Now this was the way to gain a milestone.
Manlius-Pebble Hill girls soccer coach Patricia Bentley, who has steadily built her program into an annual championship contender, closed the regular season in ideal fashion, the state Class C no. 15-ranked Trojans knocking off no. 5-ranked Bishop Grimes 2-1 in last Saturday's regular-season finale.
Not only did that victory avenge a 3-0 defeat to the Cobras from earlier in the season, it also gave Bentley her 200th coaching win with MPH.
Remembering, perhaps, how Grimes had jumped all over them in the first meeting, the fired-up Trojans tore out to a 2-0 first-half lead. Both goals came from Terry Netusil, one of the team’s proven veterans, as Lizzy Dean and Alexa Melendez-Martineau both earned assists.
Grimes regrouped and, in the second half, made a serious comeback attempt. Kennedy Yearby got an unassisted goal, but MPH prevented anything more, its defense holding the Cobras to a handful of shots. Sammy Appleby only had to make three saves, half the total of Jillian Firenze.
It was an eventful week for both sides going into the showdown. Two days earlier, Bentley won her 199th career game when the Trojans beat LaFayette 7-1.
All the goals came in a first-half onslaught where Dean, Netusil and Annie Simmonds each scored twice. Chrissy Murphy supported with one goal and one assist, while Melendez-Martineau piled up three assists
That the LaFayette game wasn’t win no. 200 for Bentley was all due to Tully, the defending Class C champions, who knocked off the Trojans 2-1 back on Monday afternoon.
Dean’s first-half goal, which was assisted by Melendez-Martineau, helped MPH earn a 1-1 halftime draw. It remained that way until the Black Knights got the go-ahead goal in the second half, and held on behind Kallie George’s six saves.
If nothing else, Grimes did not have to carry the added pressure of an undefeated regular-season mark into the MPH rematch in the wake of last Monday’s 2-1 loss to East Syracuse-Minoa.